French Voices Awards Ceremony & Homage to Andre Schiffrin
ON FEBRUARY 6th, THE CULTURAL SERVICES OF THE FRENCH EMBASSY PRESENTS FIRST EVER FRENCH VOICES AWARDS CEREMONY AND CELEBRATE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING CHAMPION ANDRE SCHIFFRIN (1935-2013)
New York, January 28, 2014 - On February 6, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and FACE will present a celebration to reflect its commitment to translation and independent publishing. On this occasion, the Embassy will host the first ever French Voices Awards ceremony with a special homage to the late publisher André Schiffrin.
The mission of the French Voices program is to expand the selection of translated fiction and non-fiction books in American and to prove that high-quality works and successful sales are not mutually exclusive. In 2013, 12 titles received the French Voices Award and were chosen by a committee of independent professional experts. The winning titles represent new trends in fiction, and underrepresented perspectives in non-fiction. On February 6, and for the first time, the French Voices Grand Prize will be awarded to the best of these 12 titles.
List of the 12 selected titles here. A short-list of 6 titles will be published this week on Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA
In keeping with this French Voices program vision, the French Embassy will also honor on February 6th the legacy of Schiffrin with a series of readings of excerpts by VIP guests and a roundtable discussion on independent publishing. Participants of the roundtable include Ellen Adler (New Press Publisher), Esther Allen (translator, professor at Baruch College and founding member of French Voices), Georges Borchardt (literary agent) and Olivier Cohen, (Founder and editorial director of Editions de l'Olivier). It will be moderated John R. McArthur (President of Harper’s Magazine).
French Voices program: 8 years, 82 outstanding titles
French is the most translated language in the United States and the second in the world. Still, only 3% of the books published in America annually are translations and many promising French titles in fiction and non-fiction need additional help to break through this glass-ceiling.
Created in 2006 to encourage the publication of French titles in the U.S., the French Voices program honors translators and American publishers for their work in the best of contemporary French writing. Titles selected by an independent committee of professionals receive a grant of $6,000. In 2013, the French Voices Awards were created to honor these exemplary works; the amount of each award is now shared between the American publisher and the translator of the winning titles.
Celebrated American writer Francine Prose is the honorary chair of French Voices 2013 edition. She declared: “Never before has it seemed so important to foster a vital international cultural and literary exchange, and readers on both sides of the Atlantic should be grateful that the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and PEN American Center have stepped in to assume this responsibility with the French Voices Grants. Since its inception, the program has honored a series of remarkable books, and it is heartening to know that it will continue to do so. I am delighted to be associated with this worthy endeavor.”
Since 2006, French Voices has supported the translation and publication of more than 82 French titles. Among these, 20 works found an American publisher after receiving this grant (authors such as Daniel Arasse, Gwenaëlle Aubry, Annie Ernaux, Laurent Mauvignier, Yasmina Kadra or Jean Rolin).
Some French Voices grantees have become best-sellers such as Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog (2008), which sold more than 900,000 copies, André Comte-Sponville’s The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality (2008) and Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read (2009).
Other exceptional titles include: in fiction, Zone by Mathias Enard (Open Letter, 2010), The Eleven by Pierre Michon (Archipelago, 2012), Running Away by Jean-Philippe Toussaint (Dalkey Archives, 2009) ; in non-fiction, We Can’t See a Thing!: Writings on Painting by Daniel Arasse (Princeton UP, 2013); The Elimination by Rithy Panh (Other Press, 2013), The Invention of Heterosexual Culture by Louis-Georges Tin (MIT Press, 2012); In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman A. Waberi (University of Nebraska Press, 2009) ; Enchantment: The Seductress in Opera by Jean Starobinski (University of Nebraska Press, 2009).
Full list of awarded titles since the inception of the program here.
Four books published by André Schiffrin’s The New Press received a French Voices grant in past years: Ravel by Jean Echenoz (2006), Beyond Suspicion by Tanguy Viel (2007, with a preface by Jonathan Lethem), The World according to Monsanto by Marie-Monique Robin (2009) and, in 2013, Viviane, an exceptional first novel by Julia Deck.
André Schiffrin, publishing pioneer
In his 48 year career in publishing (28 at Pantheon Books and 20 at the New Press), André Schiffrin introduced exceptional authors to the United States, including Günter Grass and Julio Cortázar. He was instrumental in presenting major French intellectuals and writers such as Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Marguerite Duras, Pierre Bourdieu, Claude Simon, and, more recently, Jacques-Pierre Amette, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Jean Echenoz, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Marie Darieussecq, Tanguy Viel and Julia Deck. In 2011, French Ambassador François Delattre awarded Schiffrin the Legion of Honor in recognition of his outstanding work in the publishing industry and for his support of transatlantic literary bonds between France and America.
Full list of Members of Selection Committee, 2013 available upon request
What: French Voices Awards and Homage to André Shiffrin
When: February 6, 2014 at 7 pm
Where: French Embassy, 972 Fifth Ave, New York
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy provides a platform for exchange and innovation between French and American artists, intellectuals, educators, students, the tech community, and the general public. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the US, the Cultural Services develops the cultural economy by focusing on six principal fields of action: the arts, literature, cinema, the digital sphere, French language and higher education. www.frenchculture.org
FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) is an American nonprofit organization, chartered by the state of New York and dedicated to nurturing French-American relations through innovative international projects in the arts, education, and cultural exchange. In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, FACE administers grant programs and projects in the performing and visual arts, cinema, publication and translation, secondary and higher education. www.facecouncil.org.